Coventry v Lawrence: Supreme Court lifts uncertainty on CFAs

22 July 2015


The Bar Council welcomes today's Supreme Court judgment which means that the original cost agreements in on going cases, entered in to by lawyers and their clients under pre Jackson CFA or ATE arrangements, will be upheld. Prior to today's judgment the recovery of costs under on-going CFAs, as determined by the pre Jackson scheme, had been in question.

Any other outcome would have resulted in uncertainty and disruption to clients, lawyers and to the justice system as a whole. 

The Bar Council is grateful to Nicholas Bacon QC, Dr Mark Friston and Greg Cox (instructed by the Bar Council) as well as to Kieran Beal QC for the assistance that they gave to the Supreme Court in this matter.

Nicholas Bacon QC said:"This judgment should put an end to the uncertainty which had been troubling clients and practitioners who had entered into pre Jackson CFAs or ATE policies where work in progress was often substantial and where access to justice in continuing cases was severely threatened.

"It is particularly pleasing, and likely to be important for future cases, that the Court recognised that both clients and lawyers had a legitimate expectation that their funding arrangements would be upheld."

Chairman of the Bar Alistair MacDonald QC said: "Today's decision by the Supreme Court means arrangements in to which clients entered in good faith will be upheld. As far as access to justice is concerned, this is the result that is in the best interests of both clients and practitioners."


Notes to editors:

1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

2. The  Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board